Mark Webber says Formula E will be “an extremely exciting place” to be in, as Porsche gets set to enter the all-electric championship.
The former FIA World Endurance Champion believes that Formula E will be a challenge for the German marque, also suggesting that the one car/one driver format from 2018 onwards will give a better perception of EV cars in the future.
Webber acknowledged too that there was initial uncertainty in the formula from an early stage but that has been alleviated by the influx of manufacturers that have joined over the last year.
“It is all very new and I think it was a brave person to say two or three years ago how Formula E was going to go,” Webber told e-racing365.
“But now it is pretty clear that it is an extremely exciting place and the reason why [Porsche] are in it.
“Taking motor racing to the cities, for my generation as we grew up it wasn’t like this. But now we are taking events to the people because a lot of racing tracks are not convenient for the new generation, so for us to have the opportunity to take it under their noses is great.”
Webber was quick to recognize the technical crossover between the recent Porsche 919 Hybrid endurance racing program and the next chapter for the German manufacturer in motorsport.
“[Formula E] is a platform which shows what we have learnt with the 919,” he said. “The energy re-gen, 800 volts and all these high charging situations. It is needed in motor racing, we need that, and Formula E is next.
“You can’t unlearn what you do on Sundays in racing. I’m not talking about the professional side of the driver, but on the technical side from the team.
“You’ve got all these tremendous opportunities to learn. I think that when we (Porsche) arrive in Formula E is, we are going to find that it is so competitive, a really close championship which will be good for us.”
Webber, who visited the pre-season Formula E test in 2016, retains some management links with Mitch Evans, who races for the Panasonic Jaguar Racing team.
The recently retired driver thinks that Formula E will step up its image, both in the technical and driver quality outlook once again in the coming year.
“I think [Formula E cars] are obviously pretty labor-intensive from the driver side, so the interface is demanding,” he said. “Yes, they are not the fastest at present, but we know that.
“It will be a positive to just have one car per driver and get the energy up and everyone is looking forward to that and it will translate better to fans and future EV customers.
“Also, if you look at the drivers on the grid, it is a very high calibre field. Neel [Jani] and André [Lotterer] will both be in there next season, so it will be good to see how they go.”